Issue No.7 TheBrief Spring 06 Drop-in Forum Welcome Proves Popular We’re delighted to announce that two new partners have joined the firm this year: conveyancing specialist Ian Burrow (see the article below) at Herne Bay, and commercial property specialist Jeremy Burke (‘Partner Profile’, back page) based at our Canterbury office, who is also responsible for marketing our Girlings first drop-in forum for small commercial division’s range of services. A warm welcome to them both. businesses, held earlier this year at Our spring 2006 issue takes a look at the changes heralded by pensions ‘A’ Day, Ashford Business Point, was well as well as the new age discrimination laws due to come into force in October attended by local business owners (pages 2 and 3). As electronic evidence becomes more common, email policies and managers, who took full for staff make sound sense, as outlined in our ‘Deleting Emails’ article on page 4. advantage of the opportunity to discuss a variety of legal concerns If you need advice on these or other employment law issues, look out for our with Girlings’ experienced interactive seminars, which start on 11th May at Harbledown, near Canterbury – commercial and employment law see the back page for full details. teams, free of charge. Attendees also appreciated the informal format of As always, I hope you enjoy ‘The Brief’, and if you have any comments or stories the event, which enabled them to you would like to share, please get in touch. obtain a consultation more or less straight away without having to make Andrew Watson - Managing Partner an appointment. Girlings and Ian Burrow & Co. join forces In this issue: March saw exciting developments in Herne Bay, when Girlings amalgamated with residential Page 1 conveyancing specialists, Ian Burrow & Co. of Herne Bay Merger William Street. Drop-in Forum Ian has now joined Girlings, and our existing Page 2 practice at 158 High Street will remain at its Age Discrimination Europartners Visit present location until mid-May, when staff will transfer to William Street. Page 3 Ian Burrow (left) with Andrew Pensions ‘A’ Day Watson, Girlings’ managing Clients of both practices will benefit from the partner Page 4 merger. The larger conveyancing team offers an E-mail Evidence enhanced service to people buying or selling property in the Herne Bay area and clients of Ian Burrow & Co. now have access to a much wider range of legal Page 5 services. These include commercial and employment law, litigation and dispute Girlings’ People resolution, accident and injury claims, family and matrimonial, business and Page 6 property transactions in Europe, as well as the services offered by Girlings’ Employment Law Seminars larger wills and probate team. Partner Profile Preparing for Age Discrimination Laws Are you ready for 1st October? • introduce a new duty on employers to consider an The Government has published the employee’s request to continue working beyond draft Employment Equality (Age) retirement Regulations 2006 which will come • require employers to inform employees in writing, into force on that date. and at least six months in advance, of their intended retirement date. This will allow people to plan for Many businesses around the UK need to consider now their retirement. how the new laws, which will prohibit age discrimination • remove the upper age limit for unfair dismissal and at both the younger and older end, might affect them. redundancy rights, giving older workers the same rights The regulations will prohibit direct and indirect age to claim unfair dismissal or receive a redundancy discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The Age payment as younger workers, unless there is a genuine Regulations are expected to come into force on 1 October retirement 2006. They have been published in draft form so anyone • include provisions relating to service related benefits wishing to comment on them now has the chance to do so. and occupational pensions. The Regulations: The regulations also remove the age limits for Statutory • prohibit unjustified age discrimination in employment Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and vocational training and Statutory Paternity Pay. • require employers who set their retirement age below If you would like some advice on how the new law will the default age of 65 to justify or change it affect you, please contact Simon Warley on 01233 664711 for more details. Europartners’ Visit Girlings’ French and Spanish Europartners visited the Ashford and Canterbury offices last month to discuss the future development of Girlings Europe. The service, launched a year ago, provides advice and assistance to clients who are interested in launching, developing or expanding a business, relocating or purchasing property on the Continent. Girlings Europe also provides services for the private client, including conveyancing, wills and Gérard Barron of Barron et Brun, Damian Steffen and Cesareo Guerra probate, family law and dispute resolution. of Guerra Abogados (second left and far right) with Girlings’ chairman For details, contact Chris Argent on 01843 220274. Francis Elton (centre) 6-4-06 Pensions A-Day 6-4-0 6-4-06 Few readers will have missed the fact that major pensions law changes came into force from 6th April 2006, but many may fail to take action to improve their own tax position. Most ought to check if they are in the fortunate position to exceed the new pension maximum funding • 25% in cash – some changes are made but the limits. Others will be pleased they right to receive 25% of a pension fund as tax-free can now contribute. cash continues. Indeed people can take it without retiring when they reach the right age and the Government has had to act to stop people taking the 25% and then reinvesting it in a pension to get another 40% tax relief on the re-contribution. Changes include: • Self invested pensions – Sipp – can be used to buy assets such as commercial property, as indeed has • Earliest retirement age for most people rises to been the case for many years, although a plan to 55 from 50 from 2010 allow residential property to go into a Sipp was • Maximum contribution will be the lower of your stopped at the last minute. No one must benefit annual earnings or £215,000 in the 2006/07 tax year. from the Sipp personally – thus to invest in wine So high earners, on say £300,000, who, for example, and drink it or buy art works and then hang them on have an inheritance of £215,000, could put it all in your walls would be prohibited! their pension. • Annuities – it will no longer be compulsory to buy • Single Lifetime Allowance of £1.5m for 2006/07. So an annuity at age 75. Alternative Secured Income if your pension will yield you about £70,000 a year, arrangements can be set up instead and the unused you will be at that level. Check immediately. If the part can be passed to heirs on death. In that case, fund exceeds this and retirement is in 2006/07, there an income must be taken from the fund, which will will be punitive rates applied of up to 55%. be taxed. The minimum amount will be £1 a year Measures can be taken to freeze the pot, so do take and the maximum will be linked to annuity rates. advice. Some people will have to stop contributing So if someone chooses to work until they die, well to pension funds to avoid the penalty charge, over age 75, they can at 75 set up an ASI and leave although the £1.5m will increase over time. the balance for their heirs – this would be subject to inheritance tax if the sum inherited exceeded • Small pensions – pension pots of up to £15,000 those limits. can all be taken in cash now, 25% of which is tax- free cash. There are two new kinds of annuity - the Limited Period Annuity and the Value Protected Annuity, lasting five years, after which time you can buy another one, or a normal lifetime annuity. The latter will pay out unused amounts to heirs but with a lower annuity. Take advice now on how the new pensions rules affect you. Call John Isherwood on 01227 768374 for details. Deleting your emails Deleting your emails You might think deleting an email means that it whether information is completely eliminated, or merely disappears, but in fact they can be restored. deleted". The Tribunal seemed to hold that all backed Sometimes a court orders that they must be up data is archived until it is completely deleted. handed to someone else, too. This overturns guidance from both the Information Some years ago, the UK Information Commissioner’s Commissioner and the Department of Constitutional Office issued guidance on the right of ‘subject access’ Affairs, which both felt that information on a back up under s7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and information server or about to be permanently deleted was in emails. It addressed the issue of when a deleted email not ‘held’. would need to be retrieved in response to a subject That was clearly nonsense, so the guidance will have to access request. Solicitors who do litigation routinely be changed after this decision. have to examine issues of what electronic documents and emails are disclosable to the other side in any Government bodies holding data have now been held to court case. have an obligation to do things such as simple restorations from 'trash can' or 'recycle bin' folders or The Information Tribunal has made a ruling now under from back-up tapes. However, if the work of a the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which has a restoration using specialist employees for local similar provision entitling requests for information to authorities is more than £450 and Government be made. departments £600, there is no obligation to retrieve it. This involved a request to Royal Mail for personnel data That, of course, is not the legal position if a court case is which had been 'deleted'. The Tribunal decided that the going on, when the court Civil Procedure Rules will data had been deleted, so could not be handed over in apply on these issues. There have also been some this case, but it also examined the law generally as to changes recently to the court rules on electronic what data is held. disclosure. The Tribunal said that it, "understands that information It is wise to have an email policy for your staff to follow, which is held electronically and then deleted (and even which also lets them know when their emails or web use emptied later from a 'recycle bin' or 'trash can') is still, in might be monitored by the employer. fact, retained in its original form on the computer system until it is subsequently and actually overwritten by other We can draft such a policy for you or give you legal information". In view of this, "it may be incumbent on a advice in this area. Public Authority to make attempts to retrieve deleted Contact Simon Warley on 01233 664711 information. Accordingly the authority should establish for more details. Girlings’ People Long Service Awards Girlings has recognised the efforts of two dedicated members of staff who have achieved a combined total of Newly Qualified 35 years’ service. Probate executive Jenny Humphries joined Girlings in 1986 to work as a filing clerk. After two years she was promoted to the probate department, where she specialises in the management of the elderly, working alongside partner Robin Browne and the rest of the probate team at Crown Chambers, Margate. Janet Glynn, who is a legal executive, has been with Girlings for 15 years, working first at the Herne Bay office, then the Margate office, before returning to Herne Bay, where she works with a team of four in the private client department, dealing with wills, trusts and estates. Sean Pilcher Following two years of training at Girlings’ Canterbury office, Sean Pilcher recently qualified as an assistant solicitor. Sean, who works in the civil litigation department with managing partner Andrew Watson and partner David Mallinson, was a legal assistant at Pfizer before he joined Girlings. A keen runner, Sean is taking part in this year’s London Marathon in aid of children’s charity ‘Get Kids Going’, helping to raise money to give under-privileged/disabled children access to sporting facilities. Promoting Talent Partner Robin Browne congratulates Janet Glynn (left) and Jenny Humphries Assistant Solicitor Daniel Sherlock, who joined Girlings’ litigation department just six months ago, has been appointed associate solicitor. This promotion, in February, came as he marked five years since qualifying as a solicitor. Litigation specialist Daniel deals mainly with commercial contractual disputes and landlord and tenant disputes on behalf of both business and private clients. Daniel works at the Canterbury office. Daniel Sherlock Diary Dates In conjunction with Kent Invicta Chamber, Girlings Two further seminars will follow on: is presenting a series of interactive seminars on various aspects of employment law for business Age Discrimination owners and managers. Led by Simon Warley from Thursday 8th June Girlings’ employment law team, each seminar will Employees – Recruitment and Discipline include an in-depth presentation on an important Thursday 6th July 2006. aspect of employment law, followed by an Don’t miss this opportunity to ensure that your interactive question and answer session. The business is compliant and up to date with the latest seminars start at 8am with breakfast, and end at changes in employment law. To reserve your place, 11.30am. contact Dee Conroy at Kent Invicta Chamber on: 01233 503838 or email: The first seminar will be held at Canterbury Christchurch email@example.com University at Hall Place, Harbledown, on Thursday, 11th Alternatively, you can book on-line at May. It will cover issues such as TUPE regulations, new UK and European legislation, restrictive covenants, and www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk redundancy and unfair dismissal. The event is free for Chamber members; £45 for non-members. Partner Profile Solicitor Jeremy Burke became Girlings’ newest partner last month. He has also been appointed lead partner of Girlings’ commercial division, responsible for promoting the comprehensive range of commercial and property services offered by the firm’s team of specialist solicitors based at the Canterbury and Ashford offices. Ashford Herne Bay Jeremy joined Girlings’ Bank House, 39 William Street, 2a Bank Street, Herne Bay, commercial property team at Canterbury in 2005. He Ashford, Kent CT6 5NS specialises in the sale and purchase of commercial Kent TN23 1BX Tel: 01227 367355 Tel: 01233 647377 Fax: 01227 365348 premises, leases and rent reviews, working closely with Fax: 01233 647363 business owners to help them maximise and protect Margate investments. Ashford Crown Chambers, Stourside Place, Broad Street, Station Road, Margate, A former pupil at King’s School in Canterbury, Jeremy Ashford, Kent CT9 1BN qualified as a solicitor in 1988. Prior to joining Girlings, he Kent TN23 1PP Tel: 01843 220274 worked with London law firm Lawrence Jones, where he Tel: 01233 664711 Fax: 01843 297828 Fax: 01233 664722 handled a broad range of commercial property matters. He also spent a number of years in India, running a business Canterbury development consultancy and a soft skills training business. 16 Rose Lane, Canterbury, Tel: 01843 585131 Kent CT1 2UR A keen golfer, Jeremy plays off a 12 handicap. He also Design & Production SEA 01227 768808 Tel: 01227 768374 enjoys cricket, playing for his local village and two other Fax: 01227 450498 Kent-based teams, the ‘Bluemantles’ and ‘The Moose’. www.girlings.com Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority. www.girlingshomemove.com Regulated by the Law Society.